Africa-Press – Mozambique. The Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique on Friday denounced new intimidation against one of its members, reinforcing the call for international support in the face of alleged persecution by the government in Kigali.
Innocent Abubakar, a Rwandan refugee in Mozambique, was reportedly intimidated on Sunday when two men tried to forcibly enter his residence in the northern province of Nampula, the president of the Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique, Cleophas Habiyareme, told Lusa.
“When they arrived at his house, they found the children, who went to warn Abubakar that two men wanted to talk to him. He asked them to identify themselves, but they did not. They tried to force their way in through the back door, where they also found other children living in the house. They left, but promised to come back,” Cleophas Habiyareme said.
Innocent Abubakar, a refugee in Mozambique for over five years, is a professor at the University of Lúrio, located in the city of Nampula.
This is the fourth incident involving Rwandan refugees in Mozambique this year, after the disappearance in May of journalist Ntamuhanga Cassien, who lived in Maputo, and the shooting in Matola on September 13 of Rwandan businessman Revocat Karemangingo, who had lived in Mozambique since 1996.
“Imagine that the first people who arrived at the place where Revocat was killed were his son and wife. It was his son who took him out of the car he was in and put him in another vehicle on the way to the hospital. He died in the arms of his son,” Cleophas Habiyareme lamented.
The incidents, which also include allegations of threats against the association’s secretary and his brother, come at a time when there has been a clear rapprochement between the governments of Mozambique and Rwanda, which is now supporting the Mozambican government forces in the fight against terrorism in the province of Cabo Delgado with about 1,000 soldiers and police.
The Mozambican authorities have said they are investigating the reported cases and distance themselves from any persecution.
“We have always said that the Kigali regime is persecuting refugees, not only in Mozambique but also all over the world. Now, with this arrival of Rwandan forces in Mozambique the situation is becoming worse,” said Cleophas Habiyareme, calling for an “urgent” intervention by the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as other organisations linked to human rights and the Mozambican government itself.
“The international community cannot remain silent in the face of this”, he stressed.
According to the association, there are at least 5,000 Rwandans in Mozambique, most of them refugees.
The Centre for Democracy and Development NGO promised at the end of September to write to SADC in view of the complaints of Rwandan refugees in Mozambique.
Rwanda’s leader since 1994, Paul Kagame is credited with developing the country after the genocide of Tutsis that year, but the head of state is also accused of limiting freedom of expression and repressing opposition.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in late March accused Rwandan authorities of limiting people’s use of the internet to express themselves in the country, after restricting freedom of expression in the media.
The restriction of freedoms has also been denounced and condemned by other organisations such as Reporters Without Borders and the European Union.